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Under Night In-Birth/Strategy
Under Night In-birth's offensive and defensive options can be simplified down to a rock paper scissor system: Attacking, Blocking/Guarding, and Throwing. Attacking is beaten by blocking, blocking is beaten by throwing, and throwing is beaten by...throwing is more complicated. This rock-paper-scissor system is a staple in fighting games and understanding how it works is important.
See Under Night In-Birth/Controls for how to input certain moves: attacks, blocks, and throws.
- 1 Attacking
- 2 Blocking/Guarding
- 3 Guard Thrust
- 4 Throws
- 4.1 Throw Techs
- 4.2 Gold Throws
- 4.3 Counter-hit Throws
- 4.4 Throw Reject Miss (TRM)
- 4.5 Throw Option Selects
- 5 Pressure
- 6 External Links
Hitboxes and Hurtboxes
An attack can be boiled down to a hitbox coming into contact with a hurtbox.
Different characters are not just defined by their different looking attacks, the attacks themselves are partially defined by their hitboxes; underneath attacks are their hitboxes. Hitboxes are a collection of invisible square boxes that deals damage when they come into contact with the invisible boxes that lay underneath the character models; called hurtboxes. How long or high a move can hit (i.e. the range of the move) is dictated by the size of the attack's hitboxes.
Beginners usually fall into the trap of learning cool combos and doing fun inputs and thus focus on the attacking part as that is the part of the game with the lowest skill ceiling: when you press a button; an attack will happen on the screen. However, there is more to an attack than just pressing a button, or even a series of inputs, or even a combo. Each move in a fight game is essential an animation; an animation that has effects on your character from when it starts to when it ends. However, attacks are able to damage from the moment the move starts until the moment the move ends. All attacks in fighting games are broken down into these descriptors:
- Start up
Moves with long Start up are moves that take longer to reach their 'active' part of the move. The 'active' moments of the attack is the part of the attack that can deal damage to the opponent. Once the 'active' part of the move is over and all damaging elements of the attack has ended, the 'recovery' of the move describes the state your character is in before any other action can be made. The length of each of the start up, active, and recovery parts of an attack are measured using 'frames'.
Note: Anything animated is essentially lots of pictures that flip from one picture to the next to give the impression of animation, each of these pictures are called a frame, and how fast these frames move from one frame to the next is called the 'framerate' which is measure in frames per second (fps). Under Night In-birth works at a framerate of 60fps therefore: 1 frame = 1/60th of a second.
Different characters are not just defined by their hitboxes, underneath the attacks are their hitboxes AND their frame-data. The frame-data is what makes or breaks a move.
Start-up frames are the frames of animation that start after pressing the button to attack but before the hitboxes are generated by the attack. Start-up frames are important to learn for all characters as how many start-up frames your character's normal attack moves have access dictates what button to press in a situation.
E.g.2) Orie's (5B) has 9 frames of start up. Gordeau's (5C) has 16 frames of start up too. If Orie and Gordeau attacks start at the same time the Orie will hit the Gordeau while Gordeau still has 7 more frames of animation before the active frames of the move begins.
In general, the move with the fastest start-up wins (assuming both player's attack hitboxes are within range of each other). The exception to this are moves with invincible frames e.g. Reversals).
E.g.3) Seth's (5A) has 5 frames of start-up. Eltnum's (623B) has 6 frames of start-up. From the start-up frame data alone, it looks like Eltnum takes the hit. However, Eltnum's (623B) has full invincibility (i.e. no hurtboxes) from frame 1 until frame 9. Therefore, Seth's (5A) will whiff on frame 5 of the attack and on frame 6 Eltnum's (623B) will hit.
The active frames of the attack is the part of the attack where the hitboxes exist, therefore it is the part of the attack that can damage the opponent. Ironically, the part of the move that does the damage is generally the least important part of the move to know the frame-data for. It's more important to know the range of an attack's active moments more than how long the hitboxes will last for.
Recovery frames are a very important part of fighting games for a few reasons.
The recovery frames of an attack are what is negated when one move combos into another.
While it is important to know which move can cancel into other moves whilst playing a character, it's not what is most important. The recovery of attacks dicates whose turn it is to attack their opponent. When it it someone's 'turn' in a fighting game, this refers to who can currently is performing pressure on their opponent. How recovery frames of attack dictate this is when you compare the time it takes for one character to recover from their attack and the defending character to recover from blocking or shielding the attack (called "blockstun"). The difference between these two recovery states is called "frame advantage".
Whiffing an attack is a bad situation to be in in a fighting game. Whiffing an attack means that the opponent has as much time to punish you as your start-up frames, active frames, and recovery frames combined: this is called 'total frames'. The total frames is the number that is used in place of "frame advantage" in the case of a whiffed attack.
Blocking (also called Guarding) is a mechanic that is found universal across many fighting games. In Under Night In-Birth is can be achieved by holding a directional input that is away from you opponent. Blocking has a start-up time of 1 frame, so moving to block has a faster start-up than any attack in the game.
Dash Blocking is very good in Under Night In-Birth, if you cannot do it effectively then it makes certain character match-ups difficult and thus limits how far you will go as a player. However, dash blocking is not a very difficult technique. You dash, and then you block the instant you think an attack is coming. Because a block has a start-up time of 1 frame, dash blocking is a very good way of closing the distance between players whilst ensuring not being hit.
Dash blocking has its own tutorial lesson devoted to the technique (see tutorial 7-2 (<-needs to be checked)) - which serves as a great way to practice dash blocking.
Blocking is very important, as it is in every fighting game. Hold back to block, or down + back to block while crouching. When you successfully block an attack, you will be unable to act for a short time. This is called blockstun. For the most part, you can only block while on the ground. While in the air, you can block projectiles, and you can use shield against other air attacks, but against most grounded moves you can't block at all! This means being in the air makes you extremely vulnerable.
Frame advantage is what people refer to when someone says if an attack is "plus" or if an attack is "minus". Frame advantage is a number, and it can be calculated using this formula:
(Number of frames in blockstun) - (recovery frames of an attack)
When this number is positive, the Attacker (the person attacking) has the advantage to press for an attack. When you use an attack and the frame advantage number is minus, the Defender (the person blocking) has the advantage to press for an attack. There is an exception to this though. If the person with the advantage tries to make an attack with start-up frames that nullifies the frame advantage number, they will technically lose their advantage and potentially lose their advantage to the opponent.
E.g.1) The Attacker uses an move on the Defender that leaves him at a frame advantage of +6. The Attacker then uses a move with 13 frames of start-up. The 13 frames nullifies the +6 frames of advantage because the Defender has 7 frames where they can press an attack before the attack with 13 frames of start-up will hit.
- If the Defender does a move with that has less-than 7 frames of start-up, the Defender will have successfully "mashed out" of the Attacker's pressure.
- If the Defender does a move that has exactly 7 frames of start-up, the Defender and Attacker will trade attacks (i.e. they will both be hit by each other's attacks).
- If the Defender does a move that has more than 7 frames of start-up, the Attacker will Counter Hit the Defender.
E.g.2) The Attacker uses an move on the Defender that leaves him at a frame advantage of -10. The Defender then uses a move with 18 frames of start-up. The 18 frames nullifies the -10 frames of advantage because the Attacker has 8 frames where they can press an attack before the attack with 26 frames of start-up will hit.
- If the Attacker does a move with that has less-than 8 frames of start-up, the Defender will have successfully "mashed out" of the Attacker's pressure.
- If the Attacker does a move that has exactly 8 frames of start-up, the Defender and Attacker will trade attacks (i.e. they will both be hit by each other's attacks).
- If the Attacker does a move that has more than 8 frames of start-up, the Attacker will Counter Hit the Defender.
The reason why "technically" was in italics, is because whilst on paper it might look like you might be able to take your turn in attacking back in these instances - in reality, you have to also take into account human reaction time. The average human reaction time is 16 frames. Therefore, any move that has start-up frames of less than 16 frames is un-reactable and would require the Defender in E.g.1, or the Attacker in Defender anticipate or guess the move their opponent will do.
Note: E.g.1 and E.g.2 used arbitrary frame advantage and start-up frame numbers. These can be substituted with any real frame data and remain true for that situation.
It is important to note that if the Attacker uses a move that has a frame advantage of -3 or -4, they are still safe from the Defender. Safe simply means you cannot get punished, provided you block afterwards. The fastest attack a Defender can perform in Under Night In-Birth is 5 frames, therefore the Attack is guaranteed to be able to block (which has a start-up of 1 frame) after any attack that has a frame advantage of -4 or lower. Throws have a faster start-up time of 4 frames (this is universal across all Under night In-Birth characters) therefore being free to 'tech' a throw requires a frame advantage of -3.
High, Mid, and Low Attacks
Like in most fighting games, Under Night In-Birth has attacks that hit at different heights. These heights are called:
- Mids (short for Middle)
Blocking/Guarding can be performed by standing or crouching, but neither one will block all of the different heights of attacks. Highs must be blocked standing, and lows must be blocked crouching. Mids can be blocked by using either stand blocking or crouch blocking.
Most aerials attacks are high attacks and standing overheads (attacks performed whilst grounded but hit high) tend to have start-up times that are reactable (i.e. the start-up frames are higher than 16 frames), and low attacks tend to be quite fast, therefore as a rule of thumb you should generally block low and react to highs.
There will be instances of moves that have start-up animations look visually similar, however, one move will hit high, and another move will hit low. This could be from charging an attack, and releasing a partial charged attack makes it difficult to tell if its uncharged or charged to the ‘’Defender’’. It could be a special move that is altered by the attack button pressed: e.g. the B-version of a special move might hit High and the A-version will only hit Low. These types of moves can be very difficult to react to and requires a technique called Fuzzy Guarding (or Fuzzy Blocking). Fuzzy Guarding sounds more difficult than it actually is. It’s simply moving from Standing to Crouch blocking or crouch blocking to stand blocking to anticipate the ambiguous attack, even if your character is animated as standing/crouching in blockstun from the previous attack if you are holding the direction needed to block the high or low attack you will block the high or low attack.
Note: Basically, don't pay attention to your character whilst blocking, pay attention to the enemy and move into standing and crouching accordingly.
Some moves are very ambiguous and require Fuzzy blocking. For example:
- (66B) hits Low on frame 19 (start-up frames = 18)
- (66C) hits High on frame 28 (start-up frames = 27).
General blocking in Under Night In-Birth is to block low, and react to highs, however, as mentioned previously, the average human's reaction time is 16 frames. To react to Nanase's dash normals theoretically you will see Nanase start her animation for her dash normal (Nanase leaps forward and twirls before either sweeping low, or slashing down with her sword). If the Defender starts by blocking low (to react to highs), and the attacking Nanase is actually doing 66C, the defender will not witness this until frame 19. This means the Defender only has 9 frames (before 66C's first active frame) to react on frame 28, and input standing block. 9 frames is under the average human reaction speed. Making this mix-up essentially an un-reactable 50:50 guess.
Using fuzzy guard, the Defender can essentially block both potential dash normals if the Defender anticipates and learns the timing of the move. The Defender will block low for the 66B, but instead of reacting for the overhead, for every single dash attack from Nanase the Defender will input standing block within that 9 frame window. If the attacking Nanase:
- performs (66B) - The Defender will remain blocking low and enter blockstun. Regardless of directional input during the blockstun the Defender remain in the same block-pose animation until hit again or until blockstun ends. So the standing input dont to protect against the potential (66C) is ignored by the game.
- performs (66C) - The Defender will start blocking low and then input standing block direction during the 9 frame window (after (66B) would have become active) and blocks the (66C).
Note: Nanase's dash normals were used as an example. There are other moves that require fuzzy guarding if you would like to never be hit by them. For other ambiguous moves, it requires the same basic understanding of timings. Unlike the Nanase dash normal example, if the high-hitting attack is active before the low-hitting attack, then you must first block standing then fuzzy guard low.
Shield is Under Night In-birth's special type of blocking. Shielding has several useful properties: green shields (achieved by tapping whilst in blockstun), and blue shield (achieved by holding down before an attack or after a green shield). Both shield types increase push-back and have different properties. However, shielding is risky: if you get hit or thrown while attempting to shield, you will be GRD broken.
Blue shields decrease the frame advantage of attacks that hit the blue shield. Ground attacks reduce frame advantage by 3 frames on the ground. Air attacks will reduce the frame advantage by 10 frames. For every shielded attack the Defender will gain 1 GRD block.
e.g.1) On Block the ground attack is +1, on shield the attack is -2.
e.g.2) On Block the ground attack is +7, on shield the attack is +4.
e.g.3) On Block the air attack is +4, on shield the attack is -6.
e.g.4) On block the air attack is +10, on shield the attack is 0.
Green shield or Guard Shield is when you shield a move while already in blockstun(still reducing blockstun by 3 frames). Unlike blue shields, you can switch between high and low block instantly. Green shield costs you 10 meter (or whatever is left in your gauge if you have less than 10). If there are no follow-up attacks on the green shield it will also cost 2 blocks of GRD.
Guard Thrust is a universal defensive option that can let you escape your opponent's pressure. You can use it during blockstun by pressing (214D). Your character will perform an attack that knocks the opponent away. If you are in Vorpal, performing a Guard Thrust will end Vorpal. If you are not in Vorpal, performing a Guard Thrust will cost 100 EXS and will GRD break you.
Throws cannot be blocked. Regular throws have 4 frames of start-up. After those 4 frames of start up: the character is grabbed. After being grabbed there are 14 frames until the character is thrown. There are some instances where you are invulnerable to throws (throw-invulnerable). Jump startup (which is 4 - 6 frames depending on character) are throw invulnerable. Getting up from a knockdown is throw-invulnerable for 8 frames. The best way to avoid getting thrown is by 'throw teching'.
During the 14 frames of time where the character has been grabbed and is about to be thrown. The throw can countered by performing a "throw tech". Throw techs are performed by pressing anytime during the 14 frames where you have been grabbed, but not been thrown. If successful throw is successfully teched, the character awarded with "Tech" will gain 2 blocks of GRD, and the character who attempted the trow will lose 2 blocks. After the throw tech, the character who teched the throw will recover 8 frames sooner than their opponent.
However, 14 frames of time is very difficult to react to for a human. The average human reaction speed is 16 frames of time. This makes reacting to throws very difficult (but not impossible).
If you throw your opponent during blockstun, or up to 8 frame after blockstun or hitstun ends, the throw will generate a few yellow-golden rings that radiate from the victim. and the time which the person can react to throw and tech the throw is doubled from 14 frames to 28 frames. 28 frames is a very lenient amount of time to react to which most people can react to. Gold throws make “tick throws” (a throw strategy from other fighting games like Street Fighter) not a viable technique to break through defense in Under Night In-Birth.
If you throw your opponent during the start-up frames of an attack, the throw animation will make the opponent glow red briefly before they are thrown. When Counter-hit thrown, the player cannot throw tech to escape.
Throw Reject Miss (TRM)
Throw Reject Miss (TRM for short) is a system that exists in all Arc System Games. Every time you press to normal throw an opponent, or press to tech a throw, the game the character will enter a state for ~10 frames where another throw/throw tech input will be rejected – this is called TRM. For example, if you whiff a throw, your character must wait ~10 frames before they can throw again. More interestingly, if you attempt to tech a throw you cannot attempt to tech again until the TRM state passes.
If a player attempts to tech a throw too early they will enter a TRM state and will be unable to tech the throw. The throw animation will signal this by giving the player a red outline (just like in Counter-hit throws) AND yellow-gold rings (just like from Gold Throws). When TRM thrown, the player cannot throw tech to escape.
TRM throws are useful because the opponent cannot throw tech,
Throw Option Selects
As mentioned before, the average human’s reaction time is approximately 16 frames. So how do you utilise throw techs? You cannot mash a throw tech or you will get TRM thrown, and the average person cannot react to them in time. The answer is called Throw Option Select (often just called option select or OS for short). An Option Select means making one defensive action that will cover a range of offensive options that might happen. There are many different Option Selects and they can be character dependent. The list below covers the different types of Option Selects, instructions how to input them, and their strengths and weaknesses.
Crouching Throw Tech (1AD OS)
If the opponent attempts to throw you, you will tech the throw. If the opponent does nothing or tries to attack you, you will flash crouching shield briefly. This option select is used when there is too much risk involved with sticking an attack out.
This option select can be countered with a delayed throw or an overhead. The throw will then hit when the opponent's shield is flashing and GRD break them. An overhead will GRD break the opponent since it will hit during their crouch shield.
Crouching Jab Throw Tech (1AD OS)
If the opponent attempts to throw you, you will tech the throw. If the opponent does nothing or tries to attack you, your character's 2A will come out if you aren't in blockstun. Otherwise, you will just block. This option select is used to beat opponents who are trying to run in to throw or are trying to delay their throw attempt.
This option select can be countered by: faster start-ups than your character's 2A, run up blocking, run up assault/jump/fast overheads/etc, and running up dash attacks can work as a counter too in some cases.
Backdash Throw Tech
Note: the delayed can be inputted by 'pianoing' onto the UNI.D.icon.png button. i.e. instead of pressing a down ++ at the same time, you press + and then press a fraction of a second after.
If the opponent attempts to throw you, you will throw tech. If the opponent tries to do nothing or attack you, you will backdash. This option select is used to beat opponents trying to break your throw tech attempts with assault overheads since the backdash will recover fast enough for you to block. This option select has limited utility in the corner for obvious reasons.
This option select can be countered with a very active attack or a slow attack. The idea is to hit the opponent during the vulnerable recovery of their backdash.
Force Function Throw Tech (FF OS)
The utilities of FF OS will vary depending on character. For example, some characters have FF that can Anti-air (see Anti-air Throw Tech).
Air Attack Throw Tech
Air Shield Throw Tech
Anti-air Throw Tech (AA OS)
The input required for an AA OS depends on the character, as each characters has an unique anti-air normal to use. See the table below for each character's AA OS:
|Character||Anti-air Input||AA OS Input|
|Merkava||3C, 4B, 171j.C||3C~AD, 4B~AD, 171j.C~AD|
|Vatista||Fk, 5B, 5FF~throw||Fk~AD, 5B~AD, 5FF~AD|
|Hilda||FF, 3B||FF~AD, 3B~AD|
|Chaos||171AD, FF, 191j.A~D||1>7>1~AD, FF~AD, 1>9A~1D|
|Nanase||3C, 8j.A, 7j.2[C]/8j.2[C]||3C~AD, 1>8j.A~1D, 1>7j.2[C] or 8j.2[C]~1AD|
|Phonon||FF, jA||FF~AD, 1>7j.A~1D|
|Enkidu||3C, 4C, FF||3C~AD, 4C~AD, FF~AD|
|Eltnum||3C, j.AD||3C~AD, 171~j.AD|
|Akatsuki||5A, cl.5B, f.5C, 22B, j.AD, FF, cl.5C, 6C||5A~D, cl.5B~AD, f.5C~AD, 22B~AD, 171~j.AD, FF~AD, cl.5C~AD, 6C~AD|
Veil Off/IWEX Throw Tech
If the opponent attempts to throw you, you will throw tech. If the opponent does nothing or tries to attack you, Veil Off will come out. If your character is on low life and has 200 meter, IWEX comes out. If you guess that your opponent is going to do anything except wait and block, this option select wins against every throw mixup.
This option select is countered by simply dash blocking or performing any other reversal baiting maneuver.
Rebeats, frametraps, fuzzy mashing, throwing - WIP
"Rebeat” is derived from the term “Reverse Beat” from French Bread’s (the company that developed Under Night In-Birth) previous title “Melty blood”. In Melty Blood and Under Night In-Birth you can easily combo all normal off of each other. In Under Night In-Birth this is called a Passing Link). The typical Passing Link example is: A>B>C. However, Passing Links can work in anyway (provided the opponent is with range of each attack): A>C>B, B>C>A, B>A>C, C>A>B etc. And also includes crouching moves: 2A>2C>2B, 2B>2C>2A, 2B>2A>2C, 2C>2A>2B etc, and it also works when you mix crouching attacks with standing attacks: 2A>5A>5C>2B, 2B>5C>5A>2C, 5B>2A>5C, 5C>2C>5A>5B>2B etc. Reverse beat refers to the comboing of less powerful normal attacks after more powerful ones. For example: a reverse beat (or rebeat) would be pressing an A button after a B or C button, or a B button after a C button. During block-strings, rebeating is very important because if you finish your block-string on an A button instead of B or C button, you will at whatever frame advantage the A button has. Rebeating is very important, because rebeating not only leaves you safe after heavy attacks, but if used on an enemy not expecting the rebeat, you can restart your pressure.
For example: Let’s say one of your block strings is 5A>5C>2C>4C>2B(>special move). Without using rebeating, this block string is either going to end on the 2B or the special move. No matter how bad your opponent is at fighting games, they will learn by repetition to expect to start their pressure after the 2B or the special move. If you start to cut this block string down to 5A>5C, 5A>5C>2C, or 5A>5C>2C>4C, the opponent might not expect it however, you should get punished by the opponent as (in general) C attacks are not-safe on block. However, if you rebeat after 5C, 2C, or 4C; this is very powerful not only are you safe, your opponent shouldn’t expect your rebeat, and it allows you time to reposition to re-apply pressure.
Different characters have different rebeat options, but a good rebeat button is quick and is safe i.e. -4 (or better) frame advantage on block.
Although rebeating is a very necessary tool for pressure, rebeating does not work if the Defender is always attempting to press buttons whilst in block. Prior to the use of rebeats against an opponent, it is necessary to first condition; this can be achieved by frame trapping them.
Another complicated term for quite a simple and easy technique to achieve in practice. Frame trapping is a necessary part of Pressure in Under Night In-Birth. A frame trap is something an Attacker will do to a Defender as a way to check they are still blocking whilst still attacking them, if they stop blocking to do anything other than, Chain Shift or a move that has invincible start-up frames (like a reversal attack, or a reversal-like action; e.g. VO, Linne’s FF), the Defender will be hit by the frame-trap.
So, what exactly is a frame-trap? This can be explained by describing how to frame-trap. Attacks that can combo into another attack have a ‘cancel window’ of frames where they can be cancelled – this window will usually begin at the start of the recovery animation and will end at least 1 frame after and at most 1 frame before the recovery animation finishes. The cancel window of every move for every character will differ so it’s recommended to become accustomed to your character’s normal cancel-windows Every attack has a specific amount of block-stun it will cause a defending character to stay in until they are free to move again.
Training Mode Practice: Frame trap Go to training mode and select your character, set the training dummy to any character with a 5 frame (start-up) A button. Open the training options and set the Dummy to “Guard All” and scroll down to “Reversal Actions:”. Scroll right until you find the 5 frame (start-up) A button and close the menu. These settings will make the training dummy guard against all moves, but once the dummy exits blockstun it will automatically perform the 5 frame A attack. From here, you want to practice the limits of your grounded normal attack cancel windows against the dummy by cancelling them into all available grounded normal attacks as late as possible. When an attack (that can frame-trap) successfully frame-traps the dummy (that is set to do a reversal 5 frame A button) they will get hit. Attempt the following frame-traps with the dummy set-up as instructed: 5A > 8A > 8A > 8A (after the first 5A is blocked you have to do a directional input upwards or you get an auto-combo) 2A > 2A > 2A 5A > 2A (and the reverse) 5A > 2B & 5B (and the reverse) 5A > 2C & 5C (and the reverse) 5B > 2C & 5C (and the reverse) 2B > 2C & 5C (and the reverse) Lastly, test any command normals your character has, test multi-hit moves, charged moves, and even special moves.
When a frame-trap works, what happens is the Attacker is leaving enough space between the recovery of one move, and the active frames of the next move for the opportunity for the Defender to attempt to try and press a button. If the gap between the recovery and the next active frame is not long enough for the Defender's move to activate after the blockstun from the previous attack - the opponent will be hit. Learning your character's cancel windows will prevent the opponent from trying to escape from their blocking (by trying to mash buttons), and elevate your pressure-game.
Frame Trapping serves as one facet of Under Night In-Birth pressure.
- Throw Tech Explanation by Foulu and Jasepi
- "I Want to Get Strong at UNI" by Clearlamp, Jasepi, and Brandon
- "Unist - Four steps to structure pressure" by mo.sin